Daily Devotional

James 2:1

"My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory."

When I was 20 years old a friend and I decided to go backpacking through Europe. We had grown up together and often figured things out on a moment’s notice with little or no planning. We thought that this philosophy would transfer well to spending several weeks in Europe (much to my mother’s trepidation), and surprisingly it did! Well…with a few exceptions.

Our joint venture got off to a bit of a rocky start. I arrived in Europe a week or two before my friend and started in Germany. He was going to fly into Switzerland, and we planned to meet at the Zurich train station. Not wanting to totally leave things up to chance I found out that my train arrived at platform 3 and so we decided that’s where we would meet. No further planning was needed, we had it all figured out!

When my train arrived, I stepped off and saw that I was at platform…35. It was so far down I couldn’t even see platform 3. I quickly ran down to platform 3 to wait for my friend. After a couple hours elapsed, I realized my mistake. He had probably arrived and saw that my train arrived at platform 35 and was waiting there for me so I quickly returned to platform 35. I continued to go back and forth for several hours, without any sight of my friend. It turns out that Zurich has more than one train station and he was simply waiting at a totally different location. Eventually we did find each other but from this mishap I learned an important lesson; one little misunderstanding can have huge consequences.
This doesn’t just apply when it comes to travel plans but applies even more so when it comes to our faith. James wants us to have a working faith. One of the marks of a working faith is love. If we miss this understanding, then there will be huge consequences to living our lives for Jesus.

In James 2:1, James is talking about favoritism, or partiality. It’s normal to have favorites in some cases: favorite food, favorite movie, favorite season, favorite holiday, and so on. “Favorite” literally just means “preferred before all others of the same kind.” Favoritism is different. The definition of favoritism is “the practice of unfair preferential treatment to one person at the expense of another.” When it comes to people, favoritism is not a good thing because to elevate one it means to devalue others.

Thanks goodness we serve a God who doesn’t show favoritism. How do I know? Romans 2:11 says “God shows no partiality.” We are all loved by our Father in heaven, and as His children our faith also needs to be marked by love. 1 John 4:21 tells us, “And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” If we say we love God, then we also need to love each other. Misunderstandings happen, but once we see that we’ve missed something, we need to find a way to correct it. If we are living our lives without love then there’s no time like the present to be sure we’re on the right track…or the right platform.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.